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Lower Zambezi National Park Zambia

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Michael K Malunga of the Zambia Wildlife Authority writes of an amazing scenario in the Zambezi Valley.

It was a hot day along the Zambezi River near Kulefu Camp. As we sat the shade of an acacia tortoise tree, taking respite from the scorching sun during our day patrol, a female elephant suddenly appeared with its infant. After drinking at the water’s edge and bathing in the sun, the pair started their way across the channel. At this point a crocodile, which had been lurking in the area earlier, rose from the depths and latched onto the baby elephant, much to everyone’s surprise.

Description: Lower Zambezi National Park Zambia

Lower Zambezi National Park Zambia

The mother plunged straight into the water, searching with its trunk for the culprit. Fortunately enough she caught the crocodile by its tail and immediately lifted it up out of the water and into the air. Incredibly, she then started hitting it against a large tree! She left the croc lying flat in a pool of blood, before searching for her badly injured infant.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Lorna Handley describes an idyllic return to an island she first visited nearly 20 years ago.

What are the requirements for my perfect wedding? I'd love a quiet, secluded beach, with clear blue water lapping at the shore; a hassle-free town nearby, packed with history; friendly locals; good food and beer; the sun, of course; and... Oh, and a husband-to-be.

Description: Zanzibar is a hot spot for honeymoons, so why not for weddings too?

Zanzibar is a hot spot for honeymoons, so why not for weddings too?

Phil and I first set foot in Africa together back ill 1993. He had been travelling for six months when I flew out to meet him in Nairobi. We quickly fell in love with East Africa, particularly the coast, though strangely Zanzibar didn't quite grab us as we thought it would.

It was partly with this in mind that, as we searched for a suitable venue to 'Elope' to, we settled on Unguja, and dared it to prove us wrong.

We booked into Mbweni Ruins Hotel (www. mbweni.com), which sits 7km south of Stone Town. Giving them just four weeks’ notice that we wanted to get married there, we filled out a couple of forms and left the rest to the Boniface, the hotel's assistant manager. We hardly had to lift a finger.

On arriving at Mbweni we were invited to stroll around the grounds and pick a spot for the ceremony. We opted for the end of the wooden jetty that juts about 30m out into the Indian Ocean. Perfect.

The next day we ventured into the maze of Stone Town's narrow streets, dodging mopeds, bicycles, kids rolling tyres, low-hanging wiring, the inevitable spice vendors and guys selling Tanzania football shirts out of a bag. The enticing historical sites that were crying out to be explored would have to wait. We were on a quest to find Phil some wedding shoes.

Description: kids rolling tyres

kids rolling tyres

We were beginning to give up hope when we stumbled upon Pravin, a man whose family had been in the shoe business for generations.

"It is all in the mind," Pravin declared on being asked how long it had taken him to learn the art of shoemaking. "I was born to it"

His shop was packed with all types of shoes, and his boys were at work in the back, hammering and stitching away. A pair of leather hand-stitched flip flops was duly purchased. Now we could relax.

The following day we took up residence on the beach, relaxing in the sun and watching as three ladies painstakingly wound huge palm fronds together to create a beautiful archway, through which we would pass as we walked up the 'aisle' for the ceremony.

Description: The scene at sunset along the harbor at Stone TOwn in Zanzibar, off Tanzania's coast.

The scene at sunset along the harbor at Stone TOwn in Zanzibar off Tanzania's coast

The service itself was a very laid-back affair, with the smiliest registrar in the world. And as we promised to listen to each other and to create a beautiful home (certainly beats 'love, honour and obey'), the sun slowly set.

Zanzibar, you were well worth returning to.

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